ROUTES EUROPE: Bulgaria Air Adds Sofia Link to Budapest

Balkan carrier Bulgaria Air was revealed as the latest carrier to introduce flights to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, as the city played host to around 1,000 airline, airport, supplier and general industry delegates for the Routes Europe event, which opened this past weekend. The new four times weekly route to the Bulgarian capital Sofia will commence from June 24, 2013 and will be flown using a mix of 132-seat Airbus A319 and 100-seat Embraer E190 equipment.

“We were delighted to announce a new customer to our airport and a new route to Sofia as Routes Europe opened,” said Kam Jandu, Aviation Director.  “Sofia is a dynamic Eastern European capital with beautiful scenery and uniquely, a developed ski-resort adjacent in the Vitosha mountain.  We anticipate that it will prove to be an extremely popular year round destination.”

Bulgaria Air operates regular flights from Sofia and Varna to 28 major destinations in Europe and the Middle East, but also charter and business flights to more than 100 other destinations. Together with its codeshare partners, Bulgaria Air offers its customers opportunities for traveling to over 400 cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and Northern America.  In 2012 an estimated 58,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Hungary and Bulgaria with around 66.4 per cent of this demand between Budapest and Sofia; the rest to the Black Sea destinations of Bourgas (23.7 per cent) and Varna (9.9 per cent). 

Meanwhile, Kam Jandu also revealed during Routes Europe the planned introduction of an innovative marketing incentive to further boost network development.  Subject to the necessary approval from the Hungarian Civil Aviation Authority, the incentive will apply to all new flights on thin routes and could be in place from June 1, 2013.  “We will be offering a 50 per cent discount to airlines on smaller routes which have been ‘white spots’ or under-served routes on Budapest Airport’s route network and where two, three or four flights a week would be sufficient,” he explained.  “So far, airlines have had to bear the business risk of such flights on their own.   With this new incentive, we would like to share the risk between the carrier and the airport.”

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